Wiring Yourself for Success


I’m getting ready to write up my 3 words for 2010. If you’re not familiar with the exercise, the object is to come up with three words that you use as compass points for your efforts over the year to come. They’re not resolutions. They’re ways of framing what you plan to do in the coming year. Here were mine for 2009 and 2008. (In my mind, I did okay with 2 of the 3 goals. I’ll make 2010 a redoubled effort on “armies.”)

In using this method, here’s how I set about wiring my goals to the way I accomplish what I do.

  • Determine 3 guiding words for my efforts in 2010.
  • List 1-3 paths to accomplishing those goals (aka strategies).
  • List distractions that might possibly scuttle my efforts.
  • List the steps for each path (these are the projects that map to the goals).
  • List what the “finish line” looks like.
  • List what comes next, should I actually accomplish something major along those paths.

How This Differs From Resolutions and To-Do Lists

The three guiding words are lighthouses or compass directions for my efforts. If I’m moving in those directions, I’m doing well. If I’m not on the path to those goals, then it’s clear that I’m working counter to my goals. See how that’s far more fluid than a static list of resolutions?

For instance, a resolution might be to “lose 30 pounds.” If I wrote a fitness goal, it would look like this:

  • Goal words: active
  • Path 1 to the goal: avoid elevators and drive-thru food.
  • Path 2 to the goal: prepare daily
  • Path 3 to the goal: make time for activities and make them FUN
  • Distractions: making excuses, forgetting to eat, lack of preparation
  • Steps to the path (here’s where I’d list out a few ways to start- don’t scare yourself)
  • The finish line: 3-5 activities a week, looser jeans, a need to go shopping
  • What’s next: step it up to the next level of activity. Try something challenging.

See the difference? I’m trying to set fluid guidance and not static points. In a way, the idea is to figure out orienteering versus memorizing a set map.

As you think about planning 2010, business-wise and personally, can you see how setting out three guiding words, and building paths that help you frame your goals, and then working from that mindset will help?

We’ll reveal our 3 words on 1.1.10. Get thinking. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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